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Buddhist Painting from India, Nepal, and Tibet
Sculpture from Nepal
Sculpture from Kashmir
Buddhist Painting from India, Nepal, and Tibet
Sculpture from Tibet
Vishnu with Lion and Boar Heads
Kashmir; 8th - 9th century
Copper alloy
H. 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
Vishnu is worshipped by Hindus as the preserver of the universe. He descends to earth in different guises and restores the balance of the universe. In this image, Vishnu's three heads denote three aspects of his character. A lion represents wisdom and also refers to Vishnu's incarnation as a man-lion, who saved a devotee from the wrath of his father, who hated Vishnu. As a giant boar, an animal symbolic of sovereignty and majesty, Vishnu rescued the earth during a great flood. Vishnu usually holds a club, a wheel, a lotus, and a conch, attributes which symbolize his various powers. Here the club and wheel are personified by two small figures flanking the central image. This image was once surrounded by a large body halo as indicated by the attachment remaining behind his neck and in the base.
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